F1: Radical changes inside and out for Manor Racing’s MRT05

Pascal Wehrlein drives the Manor MRT05 during the opening test session of 2016 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on Monday.

Al Staley

Pascal Wehrlein gave Manor Racing’s new MRT05 chassis its first laps at Barcelona on Monday as the team aims for a major leap in performance in 2016.

The totally new car owes nothing to the 2015 Marussia last year and features a Mercedes power unit and Williams gearbox and other components, and thus the team is in a much stronger position than ever before. The recent addition of former Ferrari/McLaren men Pat Fry and Nicholas Tombazis has also given the team a boost.

“Even at this early stage of the game, we can easily say this is the best car we’ve ever launched,” said technical director John McQuilliam. “Certainly the most developed, the most ambitious and the most aggressive. The overall package is a very significant step forward, not just from last year, but from any of the cars from our stable.

“So yes, we have a long way to go from here in terms of developing the MRT05, but it’s already a dream package for the 154 Manor Racing people who’ve worked so hard to design and build it. In a small team like ours, every single individual has played their part.”

McQuilliam stressed that very little has been covered over from last year’s car.

“Well, for starters, it’s all new. As it should be of course, but we had to ‘make do’ last year and that’s not what we’re here for. We build fast race cars for a living and it’s great to get back to doing what we love. We’re also pretty good at it, when we have the right tools for the job. So that in itself is quite special.

“Better still, the MRT05 is a contender. We really believe that. The design team have focused almost exclusively on it since the middle of last season and it’s just a whole different ball game to any of its predecessors. We haven’t left any performance on the table and right now I can say there’s not a single part of the car we’d have designed differently.”

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